May 27, Spartanburg, S.C. / Piper Pawnee


At about 16:35 eastern time, a Piper PA-25-235 operating as a glider tow flight lost engine power and crashed in the ensuing forced landing. The pilot said he was towing a glider at 2,500 to 2,800 feet when the engine failed. He released the glider and made for a forced landing at Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport. He declared an emergency on the Unicom frequency but then heard a Learjet pilot state that he was going to take the active runway. He immediately asked the Learjet pilot to hold his position, but got no response. The Learjet taxied onto runway 23. The accident pilot then turned toward a closed runway and crossed over the centerline of runway 05/23 at about 1,000 feet. He then turned base and final to runway 27, at which time the landing gear struck trees. The airplane crashed on the apron of the closed runway. The pilot admitted he ran out of fuel.


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